Football

Solskjaer rues slow start as Red Devils crash out of League Cup

United boss defends changes as Hammers pull off rare victory at Old Trafford

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Manchester United must eliminate the slow starts from their game, after an early goal from West Ham United's Manuel Lanzini knocked them out of the League Cup yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Solskjaer made 11 changes to the United side that beat the Hammers 2-1 in the English Premier League on Sunday, but was left frustrated by a largely ineffective showing as Lanzini's early goal sent the visitors through to the fourth round.

West Ham boss David Moyes also opted for 10 alterations, with the Hammers' understudies making the most of their moment in the spotlight.

They scored after just nine minutes when Ryan Fredericks ghosted past left-back Alex Telles and cut back for Lanzini to sweep past United goalkeeper Dean Henderson.

That was enough for Moyes to secure a first win over United since they sacked the Scot after less than a season in charge in 2014.

It was also West Ham's first victory at Old Trafford since 2007, leaving Solskjaer to lament a "pedestrian" start from his men.

"The first 10 minutes we were slow, pedestrian, both in possession and out of possession and that's something we have to address," said the Norwegian.

"I wasn't very pleased with the start at all... we can't find ourselves in these situations and expect to get wins like we've done fantastically in the last year-and-a-half. But we need to start games better."

With a hectic fixture list coming up, the Red Devils boss defended his decision to rest the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire and David de Gea. But his starting XI still featured Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial, with Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood coming off the bench.

Moyes, who rested Michail Antonio, Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek, handed a rare start to Mark Noble, who missed a last-minute penalty with his first touch of the ball in Sunday's 2-1 defeat at the London Stadium.

Solskjaer said that while Noble was unlucky on Sunday, he insisted that the West Ham skipper got away with a foul on Jesse Lingard shortly after Lanzini's goal.

"It's a penalty on Jesse," said the United boss. "You can't pull his shorts when you are on the way down. Mark was unlucky on Sunday and lucky with that one today."

However, Noble felt that Lingard, who spent last season on loan at West Ham, had dived.

"That's football, he dived and I told him off for screaming. Funnily enough he didn't really do it at our place but he does it here," Noble told Sky Sports, adding that they had a good laugh.

Noble, who was in the last Hammers side that beat United at Old Trafford, was delighted with the win.

"For our travelling fans to come up here and see us win at Old Trafford - the last time we won here I was playing with Carlos Tevez - so that was 14 years ago and it's a pretty special night," he told the club website.

West Ham's reward is a fourth-round meeting with holders Manchester City, who thrashed third-tier Wycombe Wanderers 6-1 a day earlier.

EPL action resumes tomorrow with the Red Devils, who are level on points with Chelsea and Liverpool at the top of the table, hosting Aston Villa before a midweek Champions League tie at home against Villarreal.

West Ham, who are five points behind the leaders, travel to Leeds United. - REUTERS

FOURTH-ROUND DRAW

  • Chelsea v Southampton
  • Arsenal v Leeds United
  • Stoke City v Brentford
  • West Ham United v Manchester City
  • Leicester City v Brighton & Hove Albion
  • Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur
  • Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland
  • Preston North End v Liverpool
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